Why Parrots and Birds Need More Than Seed and Pellets

By Leslie Moran   

Did you know that malnutrition and under nutrition is the leading causes of illness, disease and early death in birds? Do you want your birds to be healthy, have beautiful feathers and a wonderful disposition? If these things are important to you, then they need to consume hundreds of nutrients everyday.

This means they need to eat foods that are much more nutritious than seeds, pelleted diets, fruit, vegetables and nuts. When I first began caring for birds, in 1998, all the nutritional guidelines encouraged us to feed a wide variety of foods. However, since then I’ve discovered that the foods most people feed their birds are missing vital and essential nutrients.

What are these required nutrients? The vital and essential nutrients that a bird needs to eat every day includes complete protein, enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, and fresh water.

Before I explain the importance of these nutrients, let’s discuss the imbalances in foods most commonly fed to parrots and other birds. In 2002 a research paper, ‘Estimated Nutrient Content of Diets Commonly Fed to Pet Birds’, by L. Hess DVM, G. Mauldin, DVM, MS, and K. Rosenthal, DVM, MS, that was published in the March 30, 2002, issue of “The Veterinary Record” the short comings of the typical avian diet were identified.

The variety of foods eaten by the birds in this survey included formulated diets (pellets), seeds and human foods. The results of this study revealed that 80 percent of the birds consumed less protein than recommended for basic maintenance, nearly 58 percent consumed less than recommended amounts of Vitamin A. With vitamin D3, 98.5 percent consumed less than the recommended amounts for maintenance.

Nearly 96 percent of the birds consumed calcium levels below those recommended for proper maintenance while nearly 93 percent had phosphorus levels below recommended levels. Typical Foods = Limited Nutrients Seeds. Avian veterinarians will agree that feeding a seed based diet is one of the leading causes of malnutrition in birds.

Seeds do not provide compete protein, they are an incomplete protein source. Just imagine if you ate rice, and only rice, every day all year long, you’d become malnourished and undernourished just like birds who are fed seeds as their main staple.

Seeds are very high in fat and carbohydrates. They do contain significant amounts of vitamin E, but generally lack other vitamins and have very few minerals. They do not contain enzymes or antioxidants. Pelleted and formulated diets were created to contain more of the essential nutrients that are missing in seeds. But they still fall short of providing all of the hundreds of nutrients our birds need.

Formulated diets are usually formulated to provide a source of complete protein from plant sources. They also may contain select minerals, and some added vitamins, usually vitamin A and D3. The main concern to be aware of regarding formulated diets is the nutrients they are missing.

Formulated diets are limited to the vitamins that have been added, they completely lack enzymes, have no antioxidants – unless a small amount of vitamin E has been added. Vitamin E is a common food preservative known for its antioxidant properties.

When fresh fruits and vegetables are fed raw these foods do contain some vitamins, minerals, some enzymes and may contain antioxidants. These foods also contain carbohydrates. Any proteins in these foods are incomplete. Nuts contain fats, including essential fatty aids. However they do not contain balanced amounts of essential fatty acids for each species of parrot.

So if pellets, seeds, fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts do not provide adequate nutrition for the birds under your care, what else should you feed? Before discussing the ideal diet for your birds, let’s have a brief refresher on why certain nutrients are so important and must be include in your bird’s diet every day.

Nutrients Vital for the Avian Body Proteins – the proteins, from plant sources, that your bird eats must contain the proper balance of all the essential amino acids to make the food a complete protein. Complete proteins are essential to life, they provide the body with the basic nutritional building blocks that form healthy cells and nourish all body functions.

Enzymes are required by all bodily functions. Although raw fruits and vegetable contains some enzymes, our birds do not consume nearly enough of these vital nutrients. Heat, temperatures over 118 degrees, destroy enzymes. Antioxidants have developed the reputation for healing a wide variety of diseases and ailments. This can occur because antioxidants neutralize and protect the body from free radicals.

Free radicals break down and destroy delicate body tissues and cells. Free radicals have been identified as causing disease, illness and even the aging process itself. For disease prevention it is vital to consume a wide variety of antioxidants. There are many categories of antioxidants and thousands of them have been identified.

Raw fruits and vegetable contains some enzymes, most birds do not consume nearly enough enzymes in their daily diet. Heat destroys antioxidants. Vitamins are essential to life. They regulate the metabolism and facilitate numerous biological processes. They are micronutrients because the body needs them in small amounts when comparing them to carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water. Heat destroys vitamins.

Specific vitamins that have been identified as being essential for birds are vitamins A, D3 and E. When discussing vitamin A we must make the distinction between rentinol vitamin A (the fat soluble vitamin) and beta carotene (the vitamin A precursor that can be converted to vitamin A in a healthy liver). Vitamin A (rentinol A) is essential for normal disease resistance. It improves and supports the immune system by increasing the production and differentiation of immune related cells.

Vitamin D3 is important for maintaining the balance of calcium and phosphorus levels in the body. D3 is also known as the sunshine vitamin because is produced in the skin of birds after exposure to ultraviolet light from ether direct sunlight or indoor full spectrum lighting. Vitamin E is an antioxidant known for being important in preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease and prevents cell damage by preventing the formation of free radicals.

This vitamin improves circulation, is needed for tissue repair and promotes normal blood clotting. Other vitamins required by birds are vitamins B complex, C, K, P (bioflavonoids) and coenzyme Q10. Minerals, every living cell in a bird’s body depends on minerals for proper functioning and structure. Macro-minerals must be consumed in larger quantities, while trace minerals are required in smaller amounts.

The chemical balance of a bird’s body is directly dependent on its balance of minerals. The minerals most commonly discussed in avian nutrition are calcium and phosphorus. Calcium is vital for strong bones, maintains proper blood coagulation, membrane permeability, maintains heart beat regularity and normal functioning of the nervous system. Phosphorus has the widest range of biological functions in the avian body, more than any other element.

The ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio for birds is 2 to 1. Other minerals required by birds include magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, potassium, iodine, selenium, chlorine and sodium. The avian body also needs essential fatty acids (EFAs). They are required by every living cell in the body.

EFAs cannot be made by the body, balanced amounts must be consumed in the diet. They have many desirable effects on a variety of disease conditions. Heat destroys EFAs. Carbohydrates – the most commonly available nutrient, supplies the body with the energy it needs to function. Water, many people provide tap water for their birds.

The water you and your birds drink should always be of high quality. Either filtered at home, or purchase a good quality bottled spring water. Do not drink or give your birds distilled or RO (reverse osmosis) filtered water. Distilled and RO water is completely void of all minerals and must be re-mineralized before drinking. I have done extensive research on this topic.

The World Health Organization has complied a comprehensive data base, consisting of several hundred pages, that discusses the problematic effects that drinking RO or distilled water has had on various human populations worldwide. These waters can cause a variety of serious, debilitating health conditions in people, birds and other animals. The body’s water supply is responsible for and involved in nearly every bodily process.

We and our birds must consume good quality spring or filtered water. After reading about all these important nutrients you may be thinking about rushing out and buying a multivitamin and mineral supplement – stop. I’m going to teach you how to select foods to ensure you’re feeding a nutrient rich diet to your birds.

The Ideal Avian Diet You can begin improving the level of health and wellness right away by feeding your birds the most nutrient dense food on the planet – sprouts. Sprouts? You may ask… like alfalfa sprouts? There’s more to feeding sprouts than this. Let me explain. When parrots and birds joined my family I began looking for a food that was comparable to the home made, organic, holistic foods I fed my own dogs and cats. I was lead to sprouts.

Well nourished birds have a natural resistance against disease and illness and handle stress much better than those who are missing key nutrients in their diet. Vital Nutrients in Sprouts Every Bird Needs When any seed, nut grain or legume is sprouted the entire chemical composition changes.

Soaking triggers germination. At this phase a sprout’s growth has just begun, Germinated seeds, grains and legumes must be allowed to grow for at least two to three days in order for them to reach their peak nutrition. Properly grown sprouts contain two qualities not present in any other food. First, sprouts are alive. They contain life force energy.

Once any other fruit or vegetable has been picked or harvested, the nutrition it contains begins to decay. Sprouts are alive right up until the moment they are eaten. Secondly, because sprouts are alive they are brimming with a rich assortment and volume of nutrients not found in any other single food or combination of foods. The nutritional value in fresh fruits and vegetables is limited when compared with what sprouts offer.

The germination and sprout growing process transforms whole foods into a superfood. Sprouting causes the formation of vitamins and an increase in all vitamins present. Because of this they are a rich source of beta carotene (the vitamin A precursor), C,E and the B complex.

During the sprout growing process any minerals that are present become chelated, making them easier for the body to assimilate and use. Sprouts also contain an overwhelming abundance of antioxidants. Important antioxidants found in sprouts include vitamins beta carotene, C and E, flavonoids and superoxide dismutase (SOD).

Bean and legume sprouts contains anthocyanins, a powerful flavonoid. More than 4,000 flavonoids have been identified in nature. When sproutable foods are germinated and allowed to grow they become an abundant source of enzymes. By nature enzymes are catalysts – substances that induce hundreds of thousands of biochemical processes in the body.

In fact, enzymes make every single biochemical process in the body possible. The brain, nervous system, vascular system, cell regeneration, growth, immunity, the digestive system, and al the vital organs – the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs all depend on enzymes to function.

Although all raw foods contain enzymes the amounts present in sprouts can be 10 to 100 times greater than the amounts that are present in raw fresh fruits and vegetables. Like enzymes, proteins are also essential to life. Proteins form the structural basis of the chromosomes. Each DNA strand contains the genetic code that is the formula for making that cell’s unique protein chain.

Proteins are the primary building blocks that make up every cell in the body. In order for proteins to be able to build healthy muscles, blood, skin, feathers, nails and vital internal organs they must be complete proteins – they must contain all the essential amino acids in the proper amounts. So where can you find a fresh supply of sprouts that provides a balance of all the essential nutrients your bird needs?

The best source of fresh sprouts for your birds is to grow them yourself. And if you’re new to sprouting it’s important to learn how to grow them in a manner that is right for your climate and the unique conditions in your kitchen. The Benefits of Feeding Sprouts Some of the health improvements being documented from feeding a sprouting blend that has been formulated to contain complete protein include the complete reversal of avian cataracts, the prevention of arthritis and arteriosclerosis and indications that the immune system of these birds is significantly supported so that bacterial and candida infections have been eliminated.

Sprouting Blend Essentials Since birds joined my family I’ve come to understand that there are certain qualities to look for in a sprouting blend if you want to nourish good health and wellness in your parrots and other birds.

1. The blend must have been formulated to provide complete protein.

2. The blend must have a compatible germination rate, so that it can grow and reach optimal nutrition levels.

3. For optimal nutrition, the blend must be allowed to grow for 2 to 3 days. If you’ve seen the claims that ‘Soaked is More Nutritious”, please know this statement is false.

4. The blend should be a USDA Certified Organic sprouting Blend. Research continues to link pesticides in our food and water to illness and disease.

5. Look for a blend formulated by a person who is knowledgeable in avian nutrition.

Now that you know what to look for in a good, quality sprouting blend you should be able to start feeding your birds this super food right away. Putting it All Together After you’ve found a sprouting blend that meets the criteria outlined here, and learned to sprout then you can begin creating health producing meals for your parrots and other birds.

I suggest that the complete protein, properly grown, sprouting blend make up 50 to 80 percent of your birds diet. This will vary depending upon the type of diet your bird has been on, and their overall condition. Their overall condition should be determined by your avian vet.

After you have a freshly grown batch of sprouts then you can add some fresh fruit, raw or steamed vegetables, and a few nuts, appropriate for your species of bird. I suggest that parrots be weaned off of seed because of their poor nutrient content. I also suggest that you avoid feeding your parrots pasta, breads, and some of the other cooked foods available for birds. These items contain very little nutrition, mostly carbohydrates.

I do suggest that a good organic pellet can make up a portion of a parrot’s diet. As far as portion sizes, if you feed 50 percent sprouts, then the remaining 50 percent can be a combination of fresh fruit, vegetable, nuts and pellets. In the beginning it’s a good idea to measure the amounts of food you serve so that you gain a realistic view of how much of each food to feed.

For example, if you feed 1/4 cup of sprouts then you can combine other healthy foods to measure 1/4 cup, and then you have a highly nutritious and well balanced meal for the birds under your care. In Health & Healing for Parrots and All Birds.

Enjoy Sprouting!

Leslie Moran is an internationally recognized expert in avian nutrition and holistic and natural care. She provides personal consultations for parrots and all birds and has been using food choices to create healthy companion animals for nearly 30 years. Leslie has a monthly column, “The Holistic Parrot”, that appears in Parrots magazine (http://www.parrotmag.com). This publication is published in England with distribution in over 60 countries. Because she understands the value of feeding nutrient rich foods, Leslie has created her own bird food line, the Best Bird Food Ever! Sprouting Blends. These have been especially formulated to enrich the health and well being of parrots and all birds. They are USDA certified organic, contain compete protein and have a compatible germination rate so they can be properly grown for 2 – 3 days for optimum nutrition. If you are new to sprouting learn to sprout for your unique climate in Leslie’s book, “The Complete Guide to Successful Sprouting for Parrots”. This book contains a wealth of information and covers more than just sprouting. Many people consider it their avian nutrition bible. Visit her website at http://www.BestBirdFoodEver.com, when you purchase put the discount code ‘EZA11-11′ in the Paypal message to vendor area and you’ll receive a 10% discount. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6724923

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Bird Feeding – A Cheap And Enjoyable Hobby

By Ken Lawless  

As the economy continues to deteriorate, families find themselves having to  find entertainment and hobbies that they can afford and yet, still enjoy. As a  result, more and more families are rediscovery birding or feeding birds as a fun  inexpensive hobby.

Bird watching or birding, which is already one of the more popular past times  in the country, is destined to become even more popular. Feeding birds has  always been a hobby that many people without a lot of money enjoyed. Walk to any  city park on a nice day and you may see city residents sitting on the park  benches and dropping bread crumbs for the visiting birds. If you own a home, you  can do the same thing in your back yard.

Feeding birds is a fun activity that the entire family can enjoy together -  the adults as well as the children. You don’t need to buy special expensive  equipment, you don’t have to spend a lot of money traveling to far away places,  and you don’t have to build your schedule around the timing of specific events.  Birds are pretty much active at some sort of activity practically all times of  the day giving you plenty of time to enjoy your past time.

The key to attracting birds to your yard is providing them with food. You can  even aim towards attracting specific species of birds by placing their food  favorites it your back yard feeders. When birds discover that your yard has  food, which they eventually will, you may find your yard turning into a virtual  aviary.

And, if you have trees or suitable nesting places nearby, you may even find  some taking up residence in your back yard to be near the new source of food  that they have discovered. You may find that watching some of these bird  families are as much enjoyable a attending the latest romantic or action film in  the movies.

Finding nourishment to give to the birds is not expensive at all. In fact,  you can make quite a few of the recipes yourself. And, you don’t have to provide  all of the food that the birds eat, you are only supplementing it. It only takes  a little food to attract them to your garden or yard.

Introducing your kids to feeding birds teaches them how connected we all are  to nature and teaches them to respect it. Feeding birds is also an activity that  brings the family closer together. If history is a guide, your kids will look  back on this time you spent with them as some of the best times of their  lives.

You can find additional information on birds such as solar bird bath and bird houses at our website.


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Ultimate Course On Teaching Your Parrot To Talk

This complete, start-to-finish system is jam-packed with easy-to-apply information… Information anyone — whether you’re seasoned bird training expert or a total novice — to teach your parrot to talk in as little as 48 hours (some clients have even reported that their bird’s learned new words in as little as 5 minutes).

With less than 15 minutes a day, you can have your bird singing, whistling and speaking to you clearly in full sentences.

But if you’re already training your bird to speak, or if you’re simply having a tough time doing so, this system will chop your training time in half.

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Grey African Parrots – Why Are They the Most Liked Among All Parrots


Among the most marvelous as well as one of the easiest species of birds to obtain is the African Grey Parrot. Originating right from central Africa, these are definitely extraordinarily clever and best known for their incredible talking as well as cognitive ability. These parrots are prepared for developing a large vocabulary and may even have the capacity to communicate clearly with their masters.

They’re just a medium-sized parrot growing to be about 10 to 14 inches long. Presently there are two distinct types of African Grey parrots. The Congo African Grey is literally light colored and it has a red tail. The other type of parrot has a deep charcoal gray that has a maroon tail. Frequently the male is larger in size then the females. Often the males tend to be 12 to 14 inches in length. Although the actual appearances of both genders are the same, Female African Grey parrots normally have a smaller head along with the thinner neck area.

The majority of these birds will need an owner who’s able to make a lasting commitment to them. These birds have a long lifespan which enables it to live nearly 60 years. Just because of their particular higher thinking ability, these parrots need to have a holder that’s skilled and that can understand their needs. They can easily get bored so, a meaningful simulative and the interactive ambiance is critical. Without having their intellectual necessities met African parrot might twist their boredom directly into behavioral headaches such as feather picking. Seeing that they are such susceptible parrots they may also develop fast behavioral challenges. It’s quite possible that just a simple alteration in their very own every day routine as well as their habitat often leads any kind of African Grey parrots grow to be irritable or possibly reveal signs of self applied mutilation. Even while they are commonly very well behaved and turn to be incredibly good pets, these types of parrots do never show up without a couple of challenges. Wild parrots that are undisciplined can usually get easily into trouble. They may perhaps chew on wires or perhaps bite. They pick-up manners rapidly so if you by accident reinforce really bad habits in your African Grey, it’s also possible to immediately make them learn good ones.

African Grey pet parrots are excellent pets being very social birds. In the wild they can primarily group with one another. In the care and attention of an owner an African Grey parrot will also adopt this brand-new family into their flock. They have actually been known to cuddle with their keepers. Even though they don’t like intense actual physical contact they actually do take joy in petting along with head-scratching. Experience African Grey owners are certainly not put off simply by their own bird’s distinct signals of affections. Regurgitation for your Grey can be described as a sign of great appreciation. They might also seek to “kiss” their precious masters on the mouth. Doing this is not really recommended given that the person’s mouth bears bacteria that can be hurtful to pet birds. It is also important for his or her proprietors to recognize these bird’s needs for a great partnership. African Grey who usually will end up lonely may turn to vocalize exceedingly, pluck their own feathers, or possibly some might learn to bite.

Primarily because of those tendencies, African Grey birds probably are not really good pets in the household who has got children. Their beaks are really strong and hard. Little kids probably will not understand this specific behavior. A lot of these parrots likewise use their own beaks basically as an alternative hand; a method to discover the world.

African Grey birds are hands down packed with charm combined with human like qualities. All those that are fortunate enough to own one would be able to see intellect not likely equaled in many other animals.

Want to learn more about Grey African Parrots?. For more information on Grey African Parrots? visit my website at www.parrotcarecenter.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6386309

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What Do Parrots Eat ?

What do parrots eat ? This is the question that new parrot owners ask themselves. Giving your parrots the right kind of diet is important as it will determine their health, vibrancy and energy to respond to you. 

What do parrots eat? Parrots food preference. 

The food that all parrots live on is the seed-nut-fruit-vegetable-grain diet. This depends also on whether they are in the wild or in captivity. You may think that seeds and nuts are an important part of your parrot’s diet, but in essence they do not meet the nutritional demands that produce a colourful, healthy, and vibrant parrot. A balanced diet for your parrot would include vegetables, seeds, nuts, fruit, grains and supplements.  

Just like humans, parrots too have individual preferences on the type of food they’ll eat. 

Preference by Location 

From Macaws to African Greys, parrots have their own unique taste and preference for food, depending on where their species thrive in the world. As parrots are found in the wilderness of Asia, Africa and South America, the food found in abundance in this region form their basic staple. However, the diet of a parrot in captivity may be completely different from parrots in the wild. 


By instinct, nuts seem to be the natural food that parrots consume, considering their sharp and strong beaks. Nuts and seeds are highly rich in protein, lecithin, fiber, and an abundance of trace minerals such as copper, zinc and potassium. Favorite nuts that parrots munch on include cashews, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia, pistachios, palm nuts, soy nuts, and peanuts. 

Nuts contain no cholesterol and as a plant product, they are naturally low in saturated fats. Peanuts should be given scarcely as they are fatty and lack essential nutrients. The good thing about nuts is that they are rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which assist in the absorption of Vitamin A, D, E, and K. 

As an important part of your parrots wholesome diet, nuts should be given moderately and supplemented by other natural food.   

Grains and Seeds 

By nature, parrots love to peck and poke, and nuts provide the natural tendency for them to do that. It is a good treat to give them a bowl of raw, dried pumpkin seeds, cantaloupe, sunflower, squash, guava, sesame, guava, flax, huckleberry, and poppy seeds. Spray millet is a parrot’s favorite treat. They also enjoy a mixture of rice, hulled oats, corn cob and buckwheat. Seed varieties and grains can come pre-packaged product and ready to be fed at any time.   

Vegetables and Fruits  

Refrain from giving your parrots “seed only” diet and include a variety of fruits and vegetables as well, as parrots do in their natural habitat. What kind of fruits do parrots eat? They love apples, grapes, melons, bananas, pomegranates, pears, nectarines, blueberries, oranges, mangoes etc. For vegetables, they will readily indulge in sweet potatoes, carrots, corn, peppers, cucumbers, green beans and celery.

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